People have always been fascinated with death. The uncertainty of what is an inevitable event causes many to wonder, “Will it hurt?” “What will happen to me after?” While there is no way to answer these questions, two Chinese philanthropists created a “death simulator” to try and provide participants with some clarity, and furthermore help them to better appreciate life.
Opened in September 2014 at the Window of the World amusement park in Shenzhen, China, the simulator is called the Samadhi game and it allows participants to experience cremation. For $52 participants compete in a series of challenges to avoid “dying”. The losers get cremated and eventually everyone loses. As Ding Rui, one of the co-founders explained to CNN,
“As in life, everyone will die eventually, no matter what they’ve survived.”
Once a player has “died” they are placed in a coffin and transported to the incinerator. There, players are blasted by hot air (40C) and light that, according to the creators, delivers an “authentic experience of burning.” According to Vice Motherboard, once the burning is done, players will see a “womb” projected on the ceiling and hear a heartbeat. They will eventually see a bright light, which they must crawl towards until they reach a white padded area—supposedly representing their rebirth.
In order to ensure that the simulation was accurate, the creators, Rui and his partner Huang Wei-ping, visited a real crematorium where they were placed inside. The pair says that realism is essential to get participants thinking about life and death.
Wei-ping developed an interest in death during a period of soul-searching, after an unrewarding career as a trader.
“China made me rich, but it didn’t teach me how to live a rich life,” he told CNN. “I was lost.”
He went on to study psychology and spent time volunteering in the aftermath of a 2008 earthquake in Sichuan, China. Rui was also interested in death—and the meaning of life—and organized seminars with experts on the subject. They both started to volunteer at a hospice, which showed them that very few people want to confront the idea of death—especially the families of the dying.
“We lack understanding of death and the fear can become so overwhelming,”
Ding told CNN. He hopes the experience in the death simulator will promote life education, and prompt people to ask questions about life and death.
Author: Jessica Beuker